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For firefighters


Lightweight construction and firefighter safety

New methods of construction negatively impact firefighter safety under fire conditions. Studies point to the failure of lightweight engineered wood systems routinely used in floors and roofs of new homes.

Lightweight construction is not the only danger to firefighters. New homes often contain modern furnishings made of mainly synthetic materials which, in a fire, can create a highly toxic environment, greater fuel load, and faster fire propagation. Fire sprinklers provide added safety to firefighters, protecting structural stability and maintaining tenability by preventing flashover, allowing fire crews to conduct search and rescue operations and perform an offensive fire attack.


The dangers of lightweight construction NFPA has updated its popular PowerPoint® presentation aimed at educating community's decision makers and the public about the dangers of lightweight construction materials under fire conditions. The presentation, "The Threats of Lightweight Construction and Modern Furnishings to Firefighters", includes recent case studies that associate fire deaths with modern homebuilding materials, updated fire statistics, and a new section on the growing dangers of today's home furnishings. The presentation also includes news stories underscoring threats to firefighter and homeowner safety and how home fire sprinklers reduce these risks.
  • For a free copy of "The Threats of Lightweight Construction and Modern Furnishings to Firefighters", please send us an e-mail.
  • Click the "Next Slide" button below to watch the presentation online. 

The following are "death in the line of duty" reports from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) that detail fire fire fatalities at residential structures.